HOA needs to seek legal counsel on election


Q: We’ve got an election coming up. One of our home association’s board candidates has been recalled, filed bogus claims with the ombudsman’s office and our insurance company. There have been problems with violations, parking and towing. He even accused the management company and HOA board members of offering bribes in his self-nomination write-up.

I have spoken with a couple of residents and we feel this is a serious allegation. Do you think it should be pursued with law enforcement or another agency?

This individual has been caught in lies in the past, and some of us feel this is simply another. Yet, we don’t want to see a cloud thrown over our election, nor do we want to see the election results tossed out.

A: It would appear the statement about bribes could be eliminated. Your association may wish to have your legal counsel confirm this action as you do want to avoid having an election called invalid.

You fight the battles that make sense. The best way to handle a homeowner that you have described is to find the best candidates to run for the board and support and promote them.

Q: We have been told by our HOA president that the attorney informed him that our community does not warrant a board of five members. Our community has 202 homes, and the board currently has three elected directors. I believe that the issue should be left to the residents to decide.

A: You need to refer to your governing documents. Often, they will state the association can have three or more with a limit of five directors upon the homeowners amending their covenants, conditions and restrictions.

As to the attorney, he is just giving his opinion and it is not based on any state law or any standard of practice within association management.

There are many advantages of having a larger board. If you have five directors and two are absent, you still can conduct your board meeting. Having five directors does allow the board to divide its workload.

The board would need to discuss the pros and cons. If it wanted to increase the numbers, it would need to follow the covenants to amend the documents and to obtain the necessary votes from the homeowners.

Q: I have a situation I have been dealing with for some time. I live in a development on about one-quarter of an acre that has a high wall on the west side. I share the wall with three other neighbors. I have a problem with one area of the wall and a neighbor. The wall leaks badly, stucco comes off and there are unsightly stains. I have to patch, seal and repaint the entire wall. This costs me about $2,000 each year.

I have had an engineer out to look at the problem and he told me the neighbor’s landscape was put in above the sealing line, thus causing the leakage.

I have offered to help seal it on their side and split expenses, yet, that’s not an option per my neighbor. I have gone to the neighbor several time with no change, the water continues to run through the wall and stains it in several areas.

I am now concerned about the integrity of the wall. I have had a contractor and engineer come out and they suggested the wall is breaking down and could fall. My concern is it may weaken and fall on someone. The wall is about 18 feet tall. It leaks only at this neighbor’s area.

A: I am assuming the governing documents require the homeowners to be responsible for the maintaining and restoration of their walls. If so, you will need the management company to send a letter to the neighbor.

Often, associations won’t become involved with neighbor-to-neighbor matters, and if that becomes your case, you may have to contact the building/code enforcement department for your municipality to see if it will issue some citation to the homeowner. If none of these options prevail, your last-ditch effort is to contact an attorney.

Barbara Holland, certified property manager, broker and supervisory certified association manager, is president and owner of H&L Realty and Management Co. Questions may be sent to Association Q&A, P.O. Box 7440, Las Vegas, NV 89125. Fax is 702-385-3759, email is support@hlrealty.com. Holland is also available to speak at your organization or company.

 

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